Former Attorney General Dominic Grieve has questioned what the Conservative Party is trying to achieve through its plan to replace the Human Rights Act with a new British Bill of Rights.
He urged a period of consultation ahead of a review before any changes are made and warned the reputational consequences for the UK in the wider world would be "very considerable" if it were to abolish the Act.
The Tory MP also insisted there was no "quick fix" because the Act was "well embedded" in the constitutional settlements that underpin devolution, making it difficult to do anything against the wishes of the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish governments.
He told Sky News' Murnaghan: "Is it merely a cosmetic change or is it a desire to do something radically different?"
The latter would pose problems in relation to Britain's relationship with the Council of Europe, he said, as well as the European Union, which requires member states to adhere to the convention. Other than that, he insisted, the question was "totally unconnected" to the EU referendum, calling the discussion of the Bill of Rights - promised in the Tory manifesto - "a bit of a distraction".